Playback Issues - Audio/Video & Power

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Pez
Level 7

Roku Tech Support

Hi all.

I don't think this message forum is officially affiliated with the Roku company itself, is it?  Do they monitor these forums?

Anyway.....

I also have an account at the official Roku.com web site/ Sign In page.  You know how there is a page on their web site for e-mailing Support?  It's here:
https://support.roku.com/contactus/contact-details

I sent them a message/ inquiry about a tech issue I was experiencing.  After using the form & submitting it, I received an automated reply in my e-mail's Inbox, letting me know that my inquiry was received and is being reviewed by Support Staff, and I will be contacted "shortly".

"Shortly"?  I suppose that word can be interpretive and have different meanings to different people.  In our technology-driven age we live in (e-mail, texting, online support, etc.), things are pretty much in real-time, so I took it to mean that "shortly" meant within a day or so.  Nope.

After a week with no reply, I sent another message just-in-case my original message somehow got lost in cyberspace.  Finally, after two weeks, I received a reply.  And even though I gave sufficient detail in my original message (I work in the I.T. field so I know how to communicate tech info), the reply was just asking for me info (which, more or less, I had given in my original message).

However, I answered the questions that they asked and supplied them with the info requested.  And I also added in my response that hopefully their next response won't take two weeks.

So, let me check with all of you here on the forums:

 - Have any of you ever had to contact Roku Support via their online submission process?  And if so, what was the quality of support/ timely response?

 - And even though I hope not, if it is yet again two weeks before my next reply from them, do you think that's a bit extreme?  That would be roughly a month's time since my initial original submission of a tech inquiry.

You know how with dog's ages it's about 7 years for every one of ours?   Smiley Wink  Well that's how I feel with tech support inquiries   Smiley Surprised

This is 2019, not 1979.  It's not like I'm typing out a letter on paper (or hand-writing one), putting it in an envelope, mailing through the post office, waiting for it to reach its destination, get sorted and sent to the correct department......and then waiting for that reply & for it to be sent back to me.

I'd appreciate any responses from those that have had dealings with official Roku Support.

Thanks,
Pez
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18 Replies
atc98092
Level 13

Re: Roku Tech Support

Yes, this is an official Roku forum. It is not considered a customer service venue, although they do have several Roku employees that monitor and assist where they can. Since it's a Saturday, there most likely won't be a Roku moderator on here until Monday, so don't expect anything until then from Roku themselves. As you've discovered, Roku 1st level tech support leaves something to be desired. However, there are users on this forum that might be far more helpful troubleshooting your issue if you'd like to share details. 
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For starters, we need to know which Roku, by model number (not its name), and the firmware version and build. Many people state "current version", but as you may know Roku rolls out firmware versions on a rolling schedule, and different players get updated at different times. So the actual firmware version is important. Then, what exactly is the problem, including what channels/apps are the problem and sometimes specific titles, to help us see if we can replicate the issue. 
Dan
Nvidia Shield, Roku Stick (3600), Ultra (4640), Premiere (3920), Insignia 720p Roku TV, Sharp 4K Roku TV, Windows 10 Pro x64 running Serviio and Plex on a wired Gigabit network.
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DBDukes
Level 9

Re: Roku Tech Support

As a note, in the Form Rules at the top is a list of suggested items to report. Personally I wouldn’t post serial number, as it’s usually not useful unless and until Roku techs or moderators ask for it, usually via PM.
DBDukes
http://www.dbdukes.com/
Roku Ultra (4660)
Roku Premiere+ (3921)
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renojim
Level 8

Re: Roku Tech Support

"atc98092" wrote:
... there most likely won't be a Roku moderator on here until Monday, so don't expect anything until then from Roku themselves.

And Monday's a holiday, so it may not be until Tuesday.
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Pez
Level 7

Re: Roku Tech Support

Hi all; thanks for all the replies.

So, act98092, this is, in-fact, an official Roku forum; didn't know that   Smiley Surprised

Throughout the years, I've discovered many forums of products that are not officially sanctioned by the company itself, but, rather, are more of a "fan-based" thing; but, you can still get some really good tips, tricks, & pointers from them (and sometimes, almost better that official tech support!!  Smiley Wink ).

And yes, I've discovered that Roku 1st Level Tech Support leaves something to be desired.  And what I'm about to say is not meant to be a "bragging thing", but more a statement of fact to give this some context: I used to work in the education field, and, have taught language arts.  And not that a person has to be a language arts major to notice this, but, I noticed in the reply I received from Roku Tech support that the language, grammar, syntax, etc., was very broken & choppy; I don't think English was their first language.

Anyway....

Per your request on the info for my Roku device:  I went into Settings/ System/ About; I did not see a listing for what you asked below, I did not see "Firmware".  But here's what I did find:
 - Model # 466OX - Roku Ultra
 - Software version 9.00; build 4114-46

I tried some searching around within Settings but could find no listing of the word "Firmware"; if you know where it is, could you steer me in the right direction?

Now: my issue....the problem I'm having.

First, to give this a little context, I have a Sony "Smart" Blu-ray player, model BDP-S6700.  Since it's a "Smart" device, besides using it to play Blu-ray discs, I also used it to stream video content from my Windows 10 PC to the Blu-ray player (and also subscription services such as Netflix, Hulu, etc.), and then watch this video from the my PC onto my HD television (the TV is an LG, model 42CS570; it's not a "Smart" TV, so hence the reason I used the Blu-ray player or the Roku device).

Well, I hardly ever watch Blu-ray discs anymore, and, occasionally this Sony Blu-ray player would flake out on me as far as wireless connectivity; it would even "freeze up" on occasion, and the only way to unfreeze it would be to unplug it from its AC power source (pushing the power button was not effective).

So, I thought I'd invest in Roku's Ultra device; I could use it with my subscription services, plus stream content from my PC.

The specific issue I had was streaming an .mkv file from my PC to the Roku device.  The video would show up (sharp & clear!), but there was no sound (as if it was muted).

From some searching I did on these forums, I found out I was not the only one experiencing this issue (.mkv file playback/ audio issue).  But I don't think I came across a definitive answer/ solution.

One of the questions that Roku support asked me was what was the audio codec in this .mkv file; it's DTS Audio (dts ).

If I go into the Roku's Settings/ Audio, instead of Auto-Select, you can specifically choose DTS; I tried this, but the .mkv's file still only plays video, no audio.

As a test, I did this:  I used the Sony Blu-ray player and streamed the .mkv file on my PC; the file played both video & audio with no issue (so yes, the Blu-ray player and my TV can playback the audio codec from the .mkv file).

I turned off the Blu-ray player, went to my Roku player, and navigated my way to the same .mkv file that had just played successfully through the Blu-ray player; video....no audio.

So, the last thing I wrote to Roku tech support (of which I am still awaiting a reply) is this:

- My TV (LG, model 42CS570) and my Blu-ray player (Sony, model BDP-S6700, a model that is 3+ years old now) can stream an .mkv video file from my Windows 10 computer with its built-in DLNA server with no problem with video and audio playback; your Roku Ultra device cannot: why not? Can't this be fixed by either a software (or firmware??) update through the Roku Ultra device's wireless connection through my Wi-Fi signal?

And when you go to this link: https://support.roku.com/article/208754908-how-do-i-use-roku-media-player-to-play-my-videos-music-an...
...it lists Supported Media File types, which includes:
 - Video – H.264/AVC (.MKV, .MP4, .MOV)
….and:
 - Audio - DTS (.MKV, .MP4, .MOV,.DTS)

So.....what's the problem?  It's pretty much spelled out on their web site that these video AND audio types are supported.

I gave some pretty detailed info here; anybody know what's going on?

How is it a 3+ year old Smart Blu-ray player (and a TV that's even older) play back an .mkv file, both video & audio, properly.....and yet a Roku Ultra device which is pretty much brand new (purchased it in December of 2018) cannot?

Thanks for any help;
Pez
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jeffrok
Level 11

Re: Roku Tech Support

I am definitely by no means an expert on the subject, but I have been a Roku user for a long time and have read a lot of the threads pertaining to this issue.. Here's a thread that I believe will (unfortunately) answer your question:

https://forums.roku.com/viewtopic.php?t=115224
Yeah, I got some Rokus.
https://youtu.be/d1CSEeqWl10
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trekkeriii
Level 10

Re: Roku Tech Support

According to LG's specs, your TV only has a Dolby Digital decoder, not DTS. Roku does not transcode to a Dolby Digital format on the fly. Likely the Blu Ray player does. You need some sort of AVR between your Roku and TV that can decode DTS or a Server-level transcoding method like Plex or a DLNA server that can transcode to Dolby Digital.
http://trekkeriii.com/Roku_PHP_list.php
Router - ASUS RT-AC68U
ISP - TWC - 50 Mbps/5 Mbps
Net+ Cert
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atc98092
Level 13

Re: Roku Tech Support

Per your request on the info for my Roku device:  I went into Settings/ System/ About; I did not see a listing for what you asked below, I did not see "Firmware".  But here's what I did find:
 - Model # 466OX - Roku Ultra
 - Software version 9.00; build 4114-46

I tried some searching around within Settings but could find no listing of the word "Firmware"; if you know where it is, could you steer me in the right direction?

What you quoted is the firmware. Roku is using the term software, so maybe I need to reprogram my brain to call it that here. But it's really the firmware that the Roku uses as an operating system.
.
The other responses above have identified your problem. While the Roku indeed supports DTS audio, if you read further down the page you linked you will see a statement about it only being supports via HDMI passthrough, meaning whatever your Roku connects to has to support decoding the audio. Very few TVs have that capability, so you either have to alter the audio before it reaches the TV or use an AVR to decode the audio. 
.
Since it's desirable to retain the original audio as much as possible, I suggest the AVR path, or at least a soundbar with HDMI inputs that decode both Dolby Digital+ and DTS. You want the DD+ decoding because so many online streaming sites now use that version of DD, and your Roku cannot downconvert DD+ to DD. 
If you don't want to go with an AVR or soundbar, you need to alter the audio. The simplest way is to use a media server on your computer. Plex is one good option, although I prefer using a DLNA server, as I have more control in how it processes that way. I use Serviio, but it is my no means the only option available. 
Dan
Nvidia Shield, Roku Stick (3600), Ultra (4640), Premiere (3920), Insignia 720p Roku TV, Sharp 4K Roku TV, Windows 10 Pro x64 running Serviio and Plex on a wired Gigabit network.
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Pez
Level 7

Re: Roku Tech Support

Hi again; thanks for all the replies.

OK.....so the Roku player can't technically decode DTS; it's just a "pass-through"; hmmmph, how about that.  There's probably an explanation, but why isn't that a feature that they (Roku) can add?

So I guess all this time before I got the Roku Ultra, my Smart Blu-ray player must have been doing the decoding of DTS.

Well, from seeing this talk about Plex, I went and downloaded it & installed it to my Windows 10 PC; I then added the app to my Roku player.

And already problems!   :x

At first, all seemed good.

Those of you familiar with the Windows OS knows that when you navigate to C\ Users\ [Profile Name]\ Videos, that this is where you can dump video files that you can then stream to the Roku player, Plex, etc.

Well, after installing Plex, I did that, and the videos populated, and I was even able to play an .mkv video file with both the video AND the DTS audio playing properly!!  Smiley Very Happy

And then, today, I drop some more video files in the Videos folder, refresh the Library......but the new videos won't show up.  On my computer, when I Open Plex (which really just launches a browser), the newly-added videos are not there, and, just to check, when I use the Roku player/ Plex, the newly-added videos aren't there, either.

If you're familiar with Plex, you probably know that after it's installed, it starts automatically with Windows/ login; you can see it down the bottom right-hand corner in the systray (click on the Up-arrow/ caret, and you see the icon for it).

But then I noticed something....

If you go into the Control Panel/ Devices and Printers, you can see it listed under Multimedia Devices.  In mine, however, if I hover my cursor over it (Plex Media Server), it says:  "Status: Not Connected".

Why would that be?  And how do I re-connect it?

And atc98092: You mentioned a soundbar; yes, that might be something I'll look into, one that can decode DTS.

And you also mentioned this:  "The simplest way is to use a media server on your computer. Plex is one good option, although I prefer using a DLNA server, as I have more control in how it processes that way. I use Serviio, but it is my no means the only option available".  You say you prefer using "...a DLNA server"; isn't that what I'm using?  It's built in to Windows 10, isn't it?

And can I "alter" the audio, like you mentioned, with Windows' DLNA?

And oh......if you can't answer or figure out what's wrong with my Plex issue, I suppose I could always go over to their site; I'm sure they've got a forum, right???!!!   Smiley Wink
Pez
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atc98092
Level 13

Re: Roku Tech Support

DTS decoding costs money, and it's not something that is needed for the majority of Roku users. Remember that the primary use of a Roku player is for online streaming, not local media. And no online source uses DTS audio, so why add something (and increase the cost) that will be unused by so many users? Now I've suggested that Roku offer a codec package that an owner can buy to add additional codec support, but nothing has come from it. Smiley Happy
.
Yes, Windows 10 includes the ability to stream media, and it uses DLNA to do that. However, Windows Media Streaming offers zero control over what it sends out, and in most cases cannot transcode the audio and/or video as necessary for a Roku player. You also can't control how the media is presented in a player like a Roku. In my opinion Windows Media Streaming is next to useless for a Roku. Plex offers DLNA streaming, but its default is to use its own player, which uses a different protocol. in most cases Plex will transcode only what is necessary, but with the latest updates to the newest Roku players there are still times that it transcodes when not required. 
.
Plex is supposed to scan your libraries automatically for newly added media, but I believe it can be turned off. Perhaps yours is set that way. You can force a manual scan from the UI bt clicking the 3 dots on the Movies line, then selecting Scan Library Files. If you go into the main Settings menu and look under Library, the first option is to toggle on/off the auto library scan. 



But then I noticed something....

If you go into the Control Panel/ Devices and Printers, you can see it listed under Multimedia Devices.  In mine, however, if I hover my cursor over it (Plex Media Server), it says:  "Status: Not Connected"


I don't think that's anything to worry about. Windows doesn't always report connections to other devices accurately. Not the fault of Windows always. Sometimes the other devices don't register accurately. If you can use Plex on your Roku, it's working correctly. 
.
I believe I mentioned I user Serviio as my DLNA server. Mostly because it's far superior to the Windows DLNA server functionality, and advanced users have significant control over how it works with players. I've been using it long enough that I actually wrote the profiles available for Roku players, and have some for multiple uses. It doesn't offer a fancy channel for Roku like Plex does, but in most cases offers everything a user might want. Roku Media Player is the channel that works on any Roku device for playback. Since Roku players don't support image based captions, that's the most significant place that Plex is better, as it can burn the captions into the video stream.
Dan
Nvidia Shield, Roku Stick (3600), Ultra (4640), Premiere (3920), Insignia 720p Roku TV, Sharp 4K Roku TV, Windows 10 Pro x64 running Serviio and Plex on a wired Gigabit network.
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